Log Entry # 211: Jean Will Pick You Up.

My kids in their 30’s and some of their friends visit on some holidays. This Memorial Day was no different. Three of them arrived on Friday with JH arriving at our tiny local airport on Saturday. It WAS going to be memorable for JH!

JH called us at 2 pm from his connecting airport about an hour away to say he was in route and his flight was on time. We told him to call on his cell when he arrived.

He called upon arrival and noted that he would be out shortly after picking up his bags. We told him that we already had too many shots and beers and a friend of the old man’s was coming our way from the airport area and would pickup him up. Her name was Jean. We told him she was a nice lady, in her 50’s. There was no Jean. We didn’t know a Jean.

Actually we were all fine to drive. We loaded into the SUV, drove to the airport, got a first row spot in the short-term parking lot. We had a clear view of the arriving passenger area and the doors that JH would use to exit to get his ride.

With our clear view of the passenger pickup curb, we could see the cars waiting for arriving passengers. We saw a beige Lincoln Town Car with an older, female driver. Perfect! So when JH called from baggage claim we were able to tell him Jean was waiting for him just out side in her beige Lincoln Town Car. There was no Jean, we didn’t know the driver. There WAS a beige Lincoln Town Car!

JH exits the airport, sees “Jean” in the Lincoln. Smiling, he heads to the front windshield. He lightly taps to get her attention. She looks at JH like he’s a criminal. He looked around, checking to see if he had the right car. There was only one beige Lincoln. JH, having a positive personality, stepped to the side window and repeated his tapping to get “Jean” to recognize him. She didn’t, she’s now starring straight ahead probably hoping he would go away, undoubtedly thinking pervert, maybe police.

In the SUV we are doubled over, disabling laughter, in stitches, watching the Lincoln–JH–Jean event unfold.

We hopped out of the SUV and started waving and shouting, “Hey dumb ass we’re over here”, the side-splitting laughter loud enough to be heard from some distance. As the line goes in “A Christmas Story”, JH wove a “tapestry of vulgarity”, which would make the best of the best proud.

JH heard about it all weekend. We never let JH forget this one…

***** S&E *****

My Friends – Teachers and Leaders

Like many I have close friends, in this case a married couple, who taught for a combined 80+ years. I have known them for 65+ years. I always admired teachers, so much so when I retired I opened a one-man consulting firm to teach. But this is not about me, but about my friends the teachers.

Creating Runway!

They were both brilliant, athletic people. Both with more than average common sense. Their kids taught themselves to read and play musical instruments. Both always said what was on their minds. They were kind, caring. They had/have excellence senses of humor. They were patient but not to a fault. They coached and participated in extra curricular activities. They set high standards for the kids they taught. They demanded respectful appropriate behavior in school. They suffered no fools. They were the greatest example of dedication.

One of them went without a salary increase for years as the area in which he taught granted raises by voting referendums. He never quit. I guess the voters never thought education was important. He did.

They taught two generations. What I always find moving to this day is they yet have some of those two generations stopping buy their home to say hi, have a beer in some cases, and some to just say thanks. And they get to see first hand what their teaching efforts help mold years into the future.

Talk about touching the future…

They clearly touched the future. My friends and leaders!

***** S&E *****

Footnote: I live in a state where it is well known that teachers are underpaid. Where teachers leave the profession as they have issues making it on their salaries. In a state that takes in more than 2.4 billion in lottery revenue — about 30% goes to education. In a state that ranks 37th in education, ranked among all states. OMG!

NYT Briefing…

Here’s a clip from one entry from the briefing from the New York Times, Monday, January 6th:

“Here’s what you need to know”:

I

I believc most USA citizens:

  • Don’t want any more Americans killed in Iran or for that matter the Middle East.
  • Most Americans don’t want another war
  • Most believe we are not wanted in Iran and for that matter the middle Middle East
  • Most believe our efforts to oust terrorists organizations in that area of the world is like pissing in the wind
  • Most believe the religious based wars in that region that have driven hatred and murder is a fact of life
  • Most believe all the money that has been spent in the middle east and lost lives have achieved not much
  • Most believe the oh so “worn out” excuse, “IN THE BEST INTEREST OF OUR NATIONAL SECURITY”, used by Washington DC and the Pentagon, for investing people and other assets in the Middle East, is just that, an excuse used to line the pockets of contractors and business who benefit from occupations and wars, and to satiate the warmongers in the Pentagon.
  • Most believe that we have the resources, people talent, and technology to keep our borders and citizenry secure.

My answer, totally remove all people, assets, and military and stop all monies and other forms of investment from being assigned/ spent in the Middle East. Why? Answer the question, what has all that achieved in the last decades?

My answer, if you have a Middle Eastern ID or Passport, USA borders are closed to you until Middle Eastern governments clean up their terrorists mess. They certainly have the money.

Oh, wait, there is always the response we had to get involved to crush international terrorism.

Well, I believe that there would not have been a 911, nor would the Middle East care about us, had we minded our own business in the first place and stayed the hell out of the Middle East. 911 was a response.

If there are no more USA assets in the middle East there will be no more deaths.

I am a veteran, I support our troups. I don’t support our involvement in the Middle East, never have. I believe, most don’t.

Just so readers know that I’m not a nationalist: From a trade standpoint, we should be developing our economy across the globe, notwithstanding.

***** S&E*****

Bosses Who Don’t Manage

If you are accustomed to a micromanaging boss, it might seem like a dream to have a boss that leaves you alone. But too much of that can also be a bad thing.

Dealing with a manager who doesn’t manage

If your current boss is overly controlling or micromanages you, having a boss who leaves you alone and lets you do what you want might sound heavenly. But professional experience coaching senior leaders with absentee bosses (and research on the topic) says otherwise. An absentee boss can lead to feelings of alienation, job dissatisfaction, and stress.

Why is it important to have an engaged boss?

Available leverage in getting your work done

Provides a testament to your annual accomplishments

Can be a significant factor in advancing your career

Plays a partner role in setting goals and objectives

Assists in managing barriers to accomplish work

IS IT JUST YOU?

Talk with peers to see what their experience has been with your manager. You may find that they feel the same way you do. Is it possible that there are extenuating circumstances that have contributed to their behaviors? It doesn’t solve the problem of a missing boss, but it can help make a challenging situation feel easier if you see that it’s not personal.—And if you do discover it’s just you, this is good information.

MAKE CLEAR, SPECIFIC REQUESTS TO YOUR BOSS

Despite the situation, be a communicator!  Keep the boss informed.  If you need concurrence on work, send an email with “RESPONSE REQUIRED” in all caps in the subject line. Make an explicit time-bound request for the support if needed.  Here’s an example: “I need you to review and approve this contract/presentation by Friday or we will not meet the client’s deadline.” 

Persistent follow-up counts. One email may not do it. Be opportunistic about stating the case for what you need when you happen to see your boss. This may seem extremely frustrating, but it beats the alternative of having their absenteeism impede your ability to make progress and deliver results.

STEP INTO THE VOID

Nature hates a vacuum, so see how you can use this opportunity to step into a higher level of responsibility and hone your leadership skills. As you step up to lead, keep your boss informed so that you can make decisions to keep moving ahead. Email is your friend here. For example, “I will be moving forward with this decision on Monday unless I hear from you that you prefer another course of action.” Or: “I saw that this was a problem and I am planning on addressing it with a sub-team later this week. Let me know if you have any concerns and/or thoughts you would like us to consider.”

 DEVELOP YOUR INTERNAL NETWORK

Work on your internal relationships. When you have mentors or sponsors at the company, you’re much more likely to hear about other potential opportunities (and have advocates when the time comes).  Developed strategies to develop and deepen your network. Create a large circle of allies—cultivate a mentor and sponsors. This will help connect you to additional opportunities and build strong support to lobby for career advancement.

BE PREPARED TO LOOK ELSEWHERE

Quitting when you have a bad boss can be hard for many reasons. But if you’ve done what you can to salvage the situation, it may be time to look for opportunities elsewhere.  Two questions to ask: “Am I working at a place that supports career growth? Am I working at a place that will help me learn?” Use these questions as a litmus test: If you can’t check both those boxes in your current situation, you may be best served by working for another boss or company.

If you find yourself with an absentee boss, the unfortunate truth is that it will be on you to make the situation better for yourself. In the corporate world, those who get promoted to leadership positions aren’t always suited to managing people. Hoping your boss will change will likely be a waste of time.

Accept your feelings about the situation, and drum up the energy to employ the above strategies to succeed in your current role. And if that doesn’t work, put your energy toward looking for a position that will give you the opportunity to thrive.

Reference: Dina Smith, Executive Coach and Leadership Consultant. Summarized from: https://www.fastcompany.com/90428483/how-to-deal-with-a-manager-who-doesnt-manage

***** S&E *****

Log entry # 76: “Woody’s Theo”

There is a fairly well balanced amount of good-natured bashing among our friends. And most topics are fair game — aging being one of them.

Here is a birthday piece that was written for our friend Woody.  Over the years Woody was nicked named “Clark” as he was a bit of a klutz, regularly screwing up, or spilling something or, searching his mind to finish a sentence. So the “Clark” came from Clark Griswold fame from the movie, “Christmas Vacation.” There were numerous other items and gifts that were created/made and presented over time to Clark to honor his bad recall and physical ineptitude.

On one of his milestone birthdays the piece below was created, framed and presented (ready aloud) to Woody in the presence of the many that were present to celebrate his 75th.

Woody, “Clark” was loved by all… friends, work colleagues, and family. He passed last summer, 2019. The above, in its original Walmart two dollar frame, along with other stuff presented to Woody, was displayed at the family gathering at the house following the memorial service.

***** S&E ****

It is never enough…

Republican Sen. Richard Burr proposes taxing scholarships of student athletes who ‘cash in

When is it ever enough? That is, the governments need for more money — taxes!

Disgusting but probably an accurate portrayal!

You can debate the technical details of the IRS regulations and Congress’s Tax Law, the later now estimated to be about 2600 pages, and not 70,000 which is a popular number often cited by independent tax watch dogs and popular with the media. Even at 2600 pages, who in their right mind…?

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2014/04/how-long-is-the-tax-code-it-is-far-shorter-than-70000-pages.html

Point is… here is just another elected official, Burr, in this instance, who is looking for more money for the government.

It is disgusting.

Talking to an American tour guide in Rome, Italy…. He lived in Rome for 20 years. I asked him what he found to be the biggest difference between the Italian and US governments. He said, ” In Italy, the people are rich and the government poor. In the US, the government is rich and the people poor”.

No, the writer has not lost sight of all our freedoms in this country.

But it remains that the government is huge, wasteful, greedy and carrying a choking debt, all of which is costing all of us dearly .

The answer is not more taxes Senator Burr!

***** S&E *****

Bosses

In my corporate career I had 11 different management positions, domestic and international, with 2 global corporations.  And so 11 different bosses. And, since I worked in Human Resources, I had an additional 11 different matrixed bosses.  

Some of those positions covered as many as 13 countries, 19 manufacturing plants and 13,000 employees, some the entire globe, and one, a world region.  So with little imagination one could appreciate the sophistication, complexity, and business savvy of some of my bosses.

This is not about me, but about some of the stuff I learned from them.

From boss #1, I learned about using humor to lessen conflict, the importance of accuracy in writing, labor relations skills, and honesty in negotiations, and compensation processes and systems. And, supporting the community.  Scope: individual contributor.

From the next, the importance of influence, and maintaining morale in a 500 person manufacturing facility and how to keep an even keel in tumultuous situations.  Scope: single plant.

Boss # 3.  Striking a balance between work and family.  And, you don’t always win those corporate arguments.  And the importance of celebrating employee successes at work.  And maintaining a professional presence in the face of diversity.  And masterful instruction in understanding business finances and statements.  Scope: single plant

Next, how a peer manager who becomes your boss, who for reasons not mentioned here, changes from an adversary to a partner.  It is all about teamwork and often the team is what it is and you leverage the strengths and put up with the shortcomings. And how decisions have to be made in the best interest of the corporation and the stockholders, with the outcome sometimes being negative for local employees and their communities.  And, how to manage through that with compassion and empathy. Scope: single plant.

Boss # 5: Managing multiple locations, avoiding the label “I’m from headquarters and I’m here to help”, removing people who are entrenched in the organization and who don’t do their jobs.  How to run a complex multi-location project. Working through the intricacies and frustrations of the corporate political animal. Importance of helping people manage their careers, sponsoring them, and moving them when they are ready.  Scope: seven locations.

Next, working under a boss who has lost control of an organization, is a poor manager and leader, and leveraging internal resources and the greater corporation to get things done.  How to restructure a business, manage product line relocations, and associated, highly complex communications planning and implementation. a Scope: single plant.

Number 7:  Working in an environment with a verbally abusive boss for 2 years; sticking it out for another 5 years and winning the “war”.  You can change almost anything you put your mind to and be free to be creative on your job. How important and appreciated employee recognition can be.  And creating and deploying talent management as a critically important tool and process. And another masterful instructor on understanding business finances and statements, and international business management.  Managing from strategy to implementation to metrics in a complex, matrix work environment. Scope: 13 plants, 3 countries.

Boss 8: How to keep your cool in any situation, lessons on managing through the political landscape.  Scope: multiple plants, 13 countries.

Next.  Another master in business financial management and multi-location, multi-country, international business management to include acquisitions and divestitures.  Scope: multiple plants, 13 countries.

Boss 10: The value of giving people enough space to do their jobs. Managing careers.  Scope: 4 world regions, global.

Boss 11: Working through the ever present, frustrating micro manager.  Boss 12 replaced boss 11. A skilled, masterful leader who gave you freedom and space to do their job. Scope: world region.

All: Most subscribed to and lived by corporate values and ethics across the two corporations.  For most there was only one result when behavior dictated otherwise… zero tolerance.

***** S&E *****